Tech Leader Asha Easton is Pioneering an Innovative Future Inclusive of All

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The interaction between society and technology is critical to the human condition. Immersive technology, or technology that combines the physical world with simulated content, is creating a different and engaging experience for users to interact with others and consume information. Asha Easton, UK Technology Leader Be at the forefront of the boundless potential of immersive technology. As the next front line in transforming the way we work, socialize and learn, Easton creates connections to respond to problems through innovation. while elevating people from underrepresented backgrounds into the tech space.

Born to an Indo-Guyana mother and an English father in Toronto, Canada, Easton’s unique background and early exposure to a variety of travel experiences led to her interest in the venture. world class

While at the University of Western Ontario, she noted that “I studied international relations and policy analysis with the intention of working in the foreign service.” “Moved to Europe and mainly engaged in business and consulting.”

Ready for a career change in her late 20s, she bought a one-way ticket to San Francisco and retrained/networked in the tech space before returning to Europe.

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Easton’s work focuses on collaboration and expanding the reach and use of immersive technologies. Major examples include Virtual Reality (VR), which requires a headset or device that allows the user to immerse themselves in an environment. created by the computer Augmented reality (AR) technology that enhances the real world in real time by layering digital or sensory elements. Mixed reality (MR) and haptic, which use technology to transmit tactile information. Combined, the continuation of this technology falls under the keywords. Augmented Reality (XR)

What is your current location?

I am Head of Immerse UK, the Government Innovation Network for immersive technology and metaverses, at Innovate UK KTN. I work to develop an ecosystem of virtual reality technologies. To help grow the UK’s VR/AR/Metaverse by connecting with private companies, academics and governments to help make the industry ecosystem across the country less fragmented.Our work includes but is not limited to: building partnerships between companies and academics. and help them access research and development funding from the UK government. Facilitating connections with private investors to help UK companies scale and act as a delivery partner for governments. of the United Kingdom A program aimed at growing the XR ecosystem.

Easton also helped organize XR-focused economic trade missions to countries. and holding meetings with key industry stakeholders to set the direction of the journey for the industry.

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Promoted to leadership in April 2020, Easton explores COVID and post-COVID recovery at a time when businesses are grappling with significant resource depletion. With her help, Immerse UK has transformed from a fully funded government innovation network into an industry-leading membership body with partial government funding. Industries, Academic, Virtual Production, International and COVID-recovery. especially Easton’s knowledge of international relations helped her work with the Innovate UK KTN International team. She has also helped write industry reports and speak on XR-related topics at technology events, conferences and festivals.

Summarize some of the organization’s achievements.

We are expanding our work considerably. Accomplishments include co-authoring the ‘UK Immersive Tech: VC Investment Report’ with the HTC ViveX, featuring 31 breakthrough innovations, and the rapid growth of immersive tech investment, which has already raised VC and angel investments. lots of. Since the report was published last year Five out of 10 outstanding companies have raised £105 million, eight of the ’21 Watch’ companies have raised another £51.34 million and one of the ’21 Watch’ has so far. We are also publishing the UK Immersive Economy 2022 Report in September 2022, funded by Innovate UK.

Easton has seen the rise and impact of immersive technology in sectors such as medicine, education, entertainment, public policy, economics and manufacturing. She believes that these fields will continue to develop rapidly with the advancement of technology. and technology is at the forefront of the future. especially with the new generation

Technology has helped us a lot during the coronavirus pandemic. But inequality continues to spread across the world. How can the tech industry contribute positively to these issues?

Here are two examples from the XR industry showing how technology can help connect us: XR technology gives an intangible sense of presence when meeting in a 2D platform. Conducting a virtual XR event offers significant carbon savings compared to human activities of the same scale. This is what we showed in 2021 during COP26 as we COP26 hosted on the Engage virtual reality platform The use of XR technology to help with mental health issues (such as PTSD, anxiety, etc.) has been extensively researched over the years. and is currently being used to treat patients I am on board of a startup to enable therapists to easily work remotely with their clients in a secure platform.

Immerse UK has partnered with Exponential Destiny, an education non-profit for young entrepreneurs from underresourced communities who have been upskilled in XR, to facilitate the SDG Metaverse Prize competition with the United Nations. The aim is to discover and reward student-led teams that are actively using XR technology to raise awareness of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It is seen as a blueprint for a healthier, safer and more sustainable future for all.

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The global goals integrated and adopted by the United Nations in 2015 focus on addressing some of the world’s biggest challenges such as poverty, education, climate, hunger, gender equality. and overall socio-economic inequality. XR technology and their teaching generate new insights to coordinate policy. manage resources and brainstorm solutions for each development goal.

How do you envision a virtual reality-dependent society in the future? And what do you believe is the next step for it?

I believe that the next generation of internet will consist of seamlessly interconnected 3D virtual worlds. (which will be linked to our current 2D virtual self) and will be accessed via headsets in addition to computers. The immersive headset version offers a richer and deeper experience.

In the same way that today’s people might own smartphones, tablets, laptops, and PCs and use them all for different purposes — I believe VR & AR hardware will become complementary. in our daily lives naturally each with its own purpose .

In addition to her work with Immerse UK, Easton has held several board positions at start-ups. non profit organization XR Innovation Lab and VC Fund. She is a co-founder of the XR Diversity Initiative.and are eager to use XR with a diverse audience to create social impact.

What is the XR Diversity Initiative and why was it created?

The XR Diversity Initiative was created to help upskill people from underrepresented backgrounds with immersive technology skills to help them enter the XR industry. The latest VR/AR, which may save many people. and teach them to rapidly prototype within a day.

XR technology is the future of computing. And we believe that the XR experience should be created by diverse people.

How would you guide Indo-Caribbean women into tech?

You don’t need technical skills to work in the tech industry. There are many non-technical roles (e.g. Strategy, Partnerships, HR, Marketing, etc.) so if you already have these types of skills and enjoy what you do – know that they are transferable skills. If you want to transition into a technical role Remember that you:

  1. learn by doing What you build is more important than a degree or diploma. Build a portfolio Make something interesting and creative.

  2. Show off what you’re building in the community. network like crazy Get feedback on your work. Continue to build and expand your network.

  3. Prototyping with others Quality work speaks for itself. and if you are known People will come to you with results. not vice versa

Easton’s mix of work did not go unnoticed. She was recently shortlisted for the TechWomen100 Awards in the UK. Her future intentions include starting a permanent workshop at Immerse UK, focusing on diversity and inclusion, accessibility, ethics and sustainability.

Do you have specific long-term goals around empowerment and development in South Asia and the Caribbean?

I do not have a specific long-term goal of empowerment and development in South Asia and the Caribbean. Because I always work to empower people from underrepresented backgrounds, however, there is one project that I support specifically for the community called Project Dastaan.

Project Dastaan, an Oxford University-based three-part virtual reality project that links 1947 displaced migrants in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to their ancestral homes through VR, has toured the United Kingdom. Empire is ready to screen the award-winning VR documentary Child of Empire. The tour begins at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Audiences were invited to watch the South Asian-themed late Friday night, then visit BFI: Southbank in London, where the Lost Migrations documentary film was filmed.launched to the world which sold out within minutes of release.

Immerse UK has partnered with Project Dastaan ​​with support from the Arts Council. England to provide a white paper on project production and tour technical challenges as a case study for future immersive practitioners. Especially from a diverse and creative background for the first time.

Upcoming Tour Dates:

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9 January – 29 January 2023: Delhi Partition Museum

30 January – 19 February 2023: Amritsar Partition Museum

With a multi-sensory approach, XR technology is used to stimulate creativity and drive positive change in many everyday challenges and systems. The ability to create new applications and connect the world with each other is endless.

Easton works at the intersection of various innovations across the industry. and aims to be an example of inclusion when developing solutions and promoting ideas. As someone who has switched to technology She believes that people with rich skills and experience are essential to developing this field with ingenuity in a society dominated by technology.

To learn more about Easton’s work, follow her at Twitter and LinkedIn


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